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15 April 2014 e-Conveyancing - The "e" stands for "exciting"!

By Wendy Conceicao, Associate and Euge Power, Solicitor


In brief

Anyone who has discovered the highs and lows of dealing with exchange and settlement in relation to real property knows how delicate and unreliable the process can be. Enter e-conveyancing. Wendy Conceicao, Associate and manager of our Conveyancing portfolio, and Euge Power, solicitor, look at the reliability and other benefits which may arrive when property settlements make the leap into cyberspace.


New South Wales became only the second state in Australia on 8 October 2013 to provide some type of e-conveyancing option to the public. Initially this option is only for single party transactions such mortgages, discharges of mortgage and most refinances. However, at the end of September 2014 multi-party transactions will "go live" in NSW and transfers, settlements, caveats and notices will all be available for financial institutions, solicitors and conveyancers. NSW is not the only state to get the electronic treatment. All states are signed up for the implementation of a single system of e-conveyancing.
 
The company running the implementation is PEXA (Property Exchange Australia Limited). PEXA is a company whose main financial stakeholders include the New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland and Western Australian Governments as well as some of Australia's largest financial institutions.

What is it?

e-Conveyancing will provide an option for parties to complete property transactions electronically. This will enable parties who have registered for e-conveyancing to undertake the following online:

  • lodging instruments and title dealing documents in aid of registration of changes to property interests and ownership;
  • completion of financial transactions including settlement monies, taxes, duties, disbursements all at the date nominated; and
  • allow each party to view and complete all documents at any time using the electronic interface.
What are the benefits?

Cost: There may be some reduction of hard disbursement costs due to the lack of physical documents and producing them at a particular time (e.g. no settlement clerk required).
 
Reduction of failure rate: The system will undertake dummy lodgements throughout the electronic process so any issues with any part of the process are picked up before settlement is to occur. No physical documents, online funds transfers and everyone having access to the documents using the interface means there will be a great reduction in issues at settlement. This means faxing of further documents, having clerks on hold waiting for instructions, or production of further cheques, banking of cheques and associated issues are vastly reduced.
 
Time: Due to the above details in "Reduction of failure rate", there is a great deal of time which might be saved in relation to any one transaction.
 
Space: Crowded settlement rooms will be a thing of the past. As the electronic method has no limit on the amount of transactions which can occur, everyone can settle on the last Friday before Christmas without causing issues.
 

When can we start?

New South Wales will be the first to obtain all functionality for the e-conveyancing system in late September 2014. Victoria will follow in October 2014, Queensland in February 2015, Western Australia in May 2015 with other dates to be announced.
 
All parties will have to be registered in order for the service to be used for any particular transaction, and only financial institutions, solicitors and licensed conveyancers may be registered.
 
The commencement of e-conveyancing will mark a huge change for property transactions.  To find out how e-conveyancing might assist your upcoming transactions, please contact:
 

Wendy Conceicao, Senior Associate  |  Phone: +61 2 9233 5544  |  Email: wsc@swaab.com.au

If you would like to republish this article, it is generally approved, but prior to doing so please contact the Marketing team at marketing@swaab.com.au

This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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